Newspaper editor Ivan Suansing dies

Cebu Daily News editor-in-chief Ivan Suansing died yesterday after a 10-hour heart surgery. He was 43

“He was a sensitive and brilliant editor-in-chief who developed the paper like an attentive father. He made sure it lived up to high standards of independence and professionalism,” CDN publisher Eileen G. Mangubat said in a statement printed in Sun.Star Cebu.

Sun.Star Cebu editor-in-chief Pachico Seares says in his column today: “A reality in newsrooms is that a bad heart, battered by waves of stress after stress, or poor health, induced by uneven and unceasing demands of the work, can be as lethal to an editor as assassin’s bullets.”

Seares describes an editor’s task as:

“The editor must also wrestle daily with the task of planning the paper’s content, executing the plan, and coping with various problems along the way, all in the heat of deadline.

In between press runs, the editor must tackle irate news sources, dissatisfied readers, and other stakeholders who believe producing newspapers is a breeze, just as easy as peddling detergent or burger.

On top of all this, the editor must look after the economic plight, physical safety, and ethical problems of his journalists.”


Categories vs. tags

I’ve just deactivated my previous Technorati tagging plugin and installed a new one – Ultimate Tag Warrior. The previous plugin no longer worked. I did not know when or how it broke down but the tag archiving system in my site ( no longer worked.

I went to the plugin’s home page to check for updates and browsed through the support posts and found nothing related to the error I encountered. I decided to use the Ultimate Tag Warrior because of its more active development activity. It’s also supported by the K2 theme, a beta theme being crafted by the creator of the popular Kubrick theme.

Why bother with tags? Tags, I believe, are better ways to organize data than the more rigid category system. Here’s an interesting “cognitive analysis” of the tagging system.

Blogs Personal

Sporting a new theme; meeting Manolo

The Tri-Sexuality WordPress theme by Scott Jarkoff, co-founder of deviantArt, has to be the best three-column wordpress theme out there. When I spotted it, Jarkoff was still packaging a release and I had to check his site daily until the theme was offered for download.

I’m still customizing the theme and transferring elements from the previous themes I’ve used.

Press Freedom Week is finally over. I missed a lot of activities during the celebration because of my work schedule – I work from 5:00 in the afternoon until the pages are put to bed. I wasn’t able to attend any of the seminars or conferences for editors and reporters.


Press Freedom Week ends and I get star-struck

The San Miguel Beer party of the Cebu Press Freedom Week is the only event I’ve consistently attended in the past few years of the annual celebration. It’s held on a Saturday, the last day of the celebration and my day-off from the newsroom.

Yesterday, Marlen and I attended the gathering. We met old friends and acquaintances including former colleagues in the Cebu City Hall beat. While we were watching the band playing that time (the lead singer’s strapless dress was about to fall off), more people started coming in. When I looked at who occupied the seats across us, I saw TV personality Angela Calina. She sat beside Cebu Daily News editor Niza Mariñas.

I told Marlen that I’d try to steal a shot of Angela for my blog. She said I was “too obvious.” I don’t know what got into me but I asked Angela if it’s okay that I take a photo of her for my blog. She said the photo should be of the two of us. I asked Marlen to take a photo and stood beside one of the most beautiful women in Cebu.


Blogs Journalism

Will Sotto law amendment cover bloggers?

The Sotto law (Republic Act No. 53 (as amended)) protects journalists from being compelled to name their news source. It was named after Cebuano journalist Vicente Sotto, who was jailed for months over an article he printed in his newspaper.

The law protects “The publisher, editor, columnist or duly accredited reporter of any newspaper, magazine or periodical of general circulation.” The law, according to this Sun.Star Cebu article, “is silent about radio or TV journalists.”

Cebu Rep. Raul del Mar is seeking to amend that law to cover broadcast, Internet and wire service journalists. Del Mar’s HB 2960’s expanded list enumerates: “publisher, station owner/manager, bureau chief, editor, news editor, writer or reporter, correspondent, opinion columnist or commentator, cartoonist, photographer or any other practitioner involved in the writing, editing or commenting on the news for mass circulation.”

Blogs Highlights

See it, hear it, blog it

(Note: I wrote this article for Sun.Star Cebu during the Cebu Press Freedom Week. I am reprinting it here to continue the community conversation on the topic. I will be reprinting later my notes for this story.)

Manuel L. Quezon III knew Sept. 5 would be historic. It was the day the House of Representatives would vote on a committee report dismissing three impeachment complaints filed against President Arroyo.

He was up at 6 a.m. that day, cramming as much work as he could in the morning to clear his afternoon schedule, in time to cover the House vote for his personal site at

Quezon covered the House session live in his weblog, posting his first entry at 4:06 p.m. and ending only at 4:03 a.m. when he collapsed in exhaustion. He continued in the early afternoon of Sept. 6.

His coverage wasn’t your regular news report. It was a recap of the events written by a historian, opinion writer, speechwriter and one of the country’s top bloggers:


Press freedom week and haute cuisine

This week is Press Freedom Week in Cebu. The event, held on the week where Sept 21 falls, is an annual gathering of Cebu journalists. The event traditionally starts with a march from City Hall to Capitol, this year it was from Capitol to the University of the Visayas. I missed last Sunday’s march because I wasn’t feeling well and I was struggling to meet the deadline for an article on blogging and journalism.

Last Monday, reporters were treated to a six-course “lesson” on haute cuisine at the Waterfront Hotel in Lahug, Cebu City. I was busy closing pages that night and had to content myself with a fine meal of canteen cuisine and an instant La Paz batchoy later.

On Wednesday, Sun.Star Cebu started its citizen journalists project. It has a web component run by, naturally, WordPress. Here’s a link to Sun.Star Cebu’s editorial announcing the project. This afternoon, Manolo Quezon will be addressing a forum in UP Cebu on Gloriagate. I checked the assignments log last night and saw that the forum was scheduled at 1:00 p.m. My wife and I are planning to attend the forum (that is if I wake up in time for it). Are other Cebu-based bloggers planning to attend this afternoon’s forum? Why don’t we meet there?


It’s time to re-read Eco

I love Umberto Eco‘s Foucault’s Pendulum. I’ve re-read it five times. I’ve been meaning to read it again and relive how Belbo, Causubon and Diotallevi spun a tale of global conspiracy to hide the Knights Templars’ closely guarded secret – a source of tremendous power.

The urge to re-read the book came with the approach of the anniversary of the Martial Law declaration. I asked myself: what if I’ve been of the right age during Martial Law? Would I have had the courage to fight the dictatorship? I then thought to myself that I was behaving like Belbo – who was tortured by a similar question. He kept asking himself, had he been of the right age during the war, would he have sided with the fascists or the rebels?

Deadlines and other concerns pushed my mental note to re-read the book out of my mind until I saw this posted near our office:
Image hosted by

I have to re-read the book again. Eco uses words like metempsychosis, for help here’s a concordance of the words from the book.


Blogging story

I finished my story on blogging and journalism last Sunday and ran smack into the limits of print. The draft would have taken three 11 by 17-sized pages to print. The newsroom, I think, expected only a one-page story.

I tried to cut it down into an acceptable length starting late Sunday evening and I finally gave up and submitted the article early Tuesday morning – four days after the deadline.

When I arrived at the office later in the afternoon, I saw my editor laying out the pages for the article. It still took two pages but I was glad that the office decided to allocate the extra page for the article. I tried to do all work on the article on a wiki, which you can access here, but I got sick close to the original deadline and I wasn’t able to keep up with updating the wiki. The answers of the interviewees, though, are there.

I plan to publish in this blog the full text of the answers to the questions I e-mailed.


Opera removes browser ads

My previous browser of choice has decided to remove integrated ad banners in its product. I got one of their free serial numbers during their anniversary celebration and for a day or two, I went back to using Opera.

I’m currently using the latest Firefox beta and I plan to continue using it. Firefox is an excellent open source browser that renders pages fast. Opera also renders pages quickly and I plan to use it once in a while – just to check whether the sites I oversee are displayed properly in it.